The Translation of Ceslas Spicq’s “L’Épitre aux Hébreux”

The Epistle to the Hebrews (2 vols.)If you know me, you know two things: First, I love the Epistle to the Hebrews. And second, you probably know more about Ceslas Spicq’s L’Épitre aux Hébreux (The Epistle to the Hebrews) than you care too. Well, to say that I am excited about what I am about to say would be an understatement. I am pleased to announce that my awesome employer, Logos Bible Software, is looking to publish the first ever English edition of Ceslas Spicq’s magisterial commentary. Yes, you read that right! Now, everyone I have ever talked to death about this work—how awesome it is, how it needs to be translated, how I am going to do whatever I can to get it translated—can rest assured that I will not talk about it…as much.

My History with Ceslas Spicq

My love for this great French scholar began back during my undergraduate days. I was beginning my love for all things Epistle to the Hebrews. It the last semester of my major, Greek, that I took exegesis of the Epistle to the Hebrews. I was loving life and enjoying my critical study of the Greek text. I checked out every major commentary the library had on Hebrews (my classmates were not too thrilled, to say the least), and I began to work through them and I kept running into one name over and over. Can you guess who this was? Indeed, it was Mr. Spicq. Now, I tried desperately to track down a copy, but there were none to be found. Anywhere! This was frustrating me because every major commentator on Hebrews interacted with Spicq, and I wanted to see what made this man so vital that he was worthy of interacting with.

I soon came to find out that not only was Spicq’s commentary impossible to find, it also was not in print (I think it may have only been published the initial time in 1952-53) or translated into English. For a budding Hebrews scholar and bibliophile, this is simply unacceptable! I made it my mission in 2006 to see to it that there would be an English edition for the world to enjoy.

If at First You Do Not Succeed…

A few years back a good friend and I decided that we could not sit around and wait to see an English edition of Spicq. So, we jumped into our cars and headed down to Pasadena, to Archive’s Bookstore. The owner of the bookstore also owns a publishing house that specializes in re-prints of classic works. We had a good converstaion with him, pleading our case as to why Spicq needed to be re-published and translated. We left there with a promise that he would do what he could to make this happen.

Well, weeks turned into months and I heard nothing from the owner of the bookstore. During that time I also tried to contact the publisher and inquire about rights, permissions, etc. I never once got a reply. Well, we finally heard back from the owner of the bookstore and he said that he tried to get in touch with the publisher, but they never returned their message. So, the dream was dead. I figured if Archives could not make this happen, it will never come to pass.

Try and Try Again…

Flash-forward now to 2012. With the help of two wonderfully kind gentlemen—Father Benedict Viviano and Rev Dr Jerome Murphy-O’Connor—this time I was able to get in touch with the French Publisher Gabalda and get permission to do an English translation of Spicq. This has been a dream of mine for a number of years. I must say, Logos has been awesome to let me go out and make this dream a reality. They supported my efforts and shared my desire to see Ceslas Spicq’s work translated and shared with the world.

Now, all that you need to do is head over to Logos and get your order your in today. By placing your Pre-Pub order, you are holding your place in line. You are not charged a dime until the book is published and shipped to you electronically. So what are you waiting for? Go to Logos now and make my dream a reality.

Before I finish, go check out my post on the Logos Blog. It will give you my “apologetic” for Ceslas Spicq’s L’Épitre aux Hébreux.

Update: This is the week of blessing for me. After years of searching the internet, trying hard to find a copy of vol 2 of L’Épitre aux Hébreux, I can say now that my journey has ended! I have finally have the complete set of of Ceslas Spicq’s L’Épitre aux Hébreux. Now I will look for his Esquisse d’une Histoire de l’Exégèse Latine au Moyen Age.


13 thoughts on “The Translation of Ceslas Spicq’s “L’Épitre aux Hébreux”

  1. Murphy-O’Connor is a household name in Israel Studies (Ecole Biblique). His book, The Holy Land, is THE scholarly guidebook to all the sites in Israel. WHEN, not IF, we go together to Israel, we should stop by and have tea with him.

  2. Pingback: Ceslas Spicq’s L’Épitre aux Hébreux available in English. « Near Emmaus

  3. I have been fortunate to have had Spicq’s two-volume commentary in my possession for many years now. Did you know he also did a popularized commentary on Hebrews that came out in 1977?

    • Brian,

      I was fortunate today to just be looking at AbeBooks and find a copy. I have looked for a number of years for vol. 2, but today was the day.
      As to his 1977 commentary, I did know of that one. I think I will now try to get Samuel Bénétreau’s work on Hebrews.

      How did you secure your copies of Spicq?


      • I don’t remember the specifics. I am sure it was through the used book market somehow. Bénétreau is good. From the appearance of the volumes, you would think they were popularized commentaries, but he interacts with scholarly literature laying out various interpretive options before settling on which one he supports. I have generally found his decisions to be sound.

  4. He deals with the French. I tried to ascertain if he was using a translation or offering his own translation. It seems to be the latter as it doesn’t correspond to any of the translations I was able to compare. When he does deal with the Greek text he transliterates the Greek.

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